Bubble Bum Inflatable Booster Seat Does the Job

BubbleBum_2

If you're a parent, you're guaranteed to run into the "three-across" conundrum at some point. If you drive a sedan, a wagon, a crossover or an SUV with two rows, there will come a time in your parenting career when you'll need to squeeze three kids across the backseat. With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's best practices for booster seat usage, it's likely you'll try to squeeze three kids into booster seats across the back. In the past, I'd give you a little smirk and a "Good luck with that!" and send you on your way to buy a minivan. That is until the Bubble Bum came along.

The Bubble Bum in an inflatable booster seat developed by Grainne Kelly, a mom of two, who was frustrated by booster seats when traveling with her family.

Lugging boosters through the airport is a pain in the @#$%. I know because I spent five years as a single mom traveling with two kids in booster seats, trying to haul our luggage and boosters around by myself.

BubbleBum_1

Trying to get booster seats through a rental car company isn't any better. I was once let down after reserving two booster seats that didn't show up with the rental car, rendering us sitting ducks for our entire vacation. If you are "lucky" enough to get them through a rental car company, there's a good chance they're old, recalled, peed on and/or just generally disgusting.

Kelly's inflatable booster seat, which is for kids weighing 40 to 80 pounds, solves a multitude of problems. First off, the Bubble Bum was named a Best Bet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because it correctly positions the seat belt's lap and shoulder belts across the child. Because it's inflatable, it is also deflatable (clearly), which means you can press the air out in seconds and pack this puppy flat or folded in your carry-on bag. For city taxi trekking, you can inflate the Bubble Bum with just a few big breaths.

Here's the real kicker: At roughly 12 inches wide, you can easily fit three across the backseat of most cars. As a comparison, some of the narrowest booster seats on the market right now are between 17 and 18 inches wide. You do the math.

In my situation, every other weekend we go from hauling around two kids to three when my stepdaughter is along for the ride in my 2004 Mercedes-Benz C320. Before Bubble Bum, with my younger two in their Britax Parkways, there was really no chance for a third child to squeeze in the middle seat (photo below). With the two little ones in narrower Clek Ollis, it was doable, but my oldest was extremely uncomfortable sitting in the middle. I also needed to help the girls buckle up from left to right just to get them all in. Needless to say, this made family outings or even simple errand runs unpleasant.

BubbleBum_3

Now, my two younger ones can sit on their Bubble Bums in the outboard seats with more than enough room leftover for my oldest in the middle (photo below). They even have enough room to buckle up on their own. My girls also raved about how comfortable the air-cushioned Bubble Bum is to sit on, and they liked that their friends couldn't see that they're sitting on a booster seat while pulling through the carpool lane at school.

BubbleBum_4

While you can pay close to $300 for certain booster seats, which shall remain nameless, the Bubble Bum costs $39.95. That makes it an affordable option to have as a "just-in-case" seat when the need arises. The Bubble Bum comes rolled up in a little tube that's perfect for sticking in the top of a Christmas stocking, too. You can thank me later for introducing you to this booster seat, or maybe we all should thank Grainne Kelly for solving so many of our family-on-the-go woes.

 

By Kristin Varela | December 14, 2011 | Comments (3)

Comments 

Beth W

I'm glad to see that you like using the Bubble Bum! As a certified child passenger safety instructor, I'd like to point out a couple of things that need to be corrected - based on the photos you posted.

First - in the original photo of the kids using the Clek boosters: the shoulder belts aren't routed properly - they should be under the head wing portion of the seat in the shoulder belt guides. Second: the lap portion of the belt on the daughter in the red dress appears to also be routed incorrectly - it should be low, under the armrest so that the belt crosses her body at the hips - not the abdomen. Also in this shot - your older daughter in the middle has the shoulder belt off of her shoulder - not centered over the shoulder, and her head restraint is in the wrong position.

Now, as to the last photo with the kids using the Bubble Bum: the head restraints for both your son and the daughter in the middle need to be properly adjusted to provide them with the correct protection.

Thanks so much for your time and great review!

Peter

is there a maximium weight for the Bubble Bum? I can see something like this being handy for sitting on bleachers at a sporting event.

Beth W

According to their website:

BubbleBum is a Belt Positioning Booster seat for children who meet all of the following criteria:

1. Children between 40lbs and 80lbs in weight

2. Children are over the age of 4,

3. Children can sit for the entire journey without sitting on their knees

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com